Panel examines contractor drawdown in Iraq


Dana Hedgpeth
Washington Post
March 29, 2010

A congressional committee on Monday questioned one of the Pentagon’s biggest defense companies and military leaders about how they plan to reduce the nearly 100,000 contractor employees in Iraq, as the U.S. draws down its military forces there.

“Taxpayers need assurance that contractors don’t have unnecessary staff hanging around — accidentally or by design — without work, but still drawing pay,” the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan said in its prepared statement.

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The Pentagon expects the number of contractor employees in Iraq — mostly foreign nationals and Iraqis — to have declined from 149,000 in January 2009 to no more than 75,000 by August 2010. KBR, of Houston, has the largest service contract for $38 billion to provide a range of logistic services including equipment eminence, feeding troops and other work.

A recent Pentagon inspector general report found that KBR contractors were billing the government for 12 hours in doing truck maintenance, but in reality were working an average of 1.3 hours — a waste of $21 million. The report also found that KBR could save $193 million if it drew down its workforce faster, according to an audit by the Defense Contract Audit Agency.

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